Wartime Meal Inspiration


I’m an avid collector of old cookbooks and USDA issued recipe cards.  I find that they are the best inspiration for those aspiring to sourcing most of their food locally.  While it is a luxury and privilege for us to be able to make that choice now, many people ate this way because it was their only option.  Disadvantage and suffering gave way to creativity in the kitchen in the most simple and surprisingly delicious ways.

Pulling out my old Wartime meal planning cards to do some kitchen prep this week with extra root crops and low-point meat cuts this week. These cards were issued by the United States Department of Agriculture, National Nutrition, and Food Conservation Programs of 1939.  I’m most inspired at the fact that our government met people where they were with what they had and encouraged them to do good with it.  I certainly feel a resurgence in that direction.  It’s time that we take our health back.  Yes, we have other countries to consider from a viewpoint of war, but let’s consider the war on our health that must be fought against the companies who have made an excessive living on encouraging our unhealthy habits of overconsumption of the foods that cause obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.  This is the place where local farmers find their unique role in changing the food system.  I truly believe that.

I started with this simple, but excellent Vegetable Chowder recipe.  I followed it exactly, but used flour rather than bread crumbs and the vegetables I had on hand (celery, sweet potato, carrots, and turnips).  Strong flavored vegetables like turnips and celery are perfect in dishes like this.  Their flavors really accent the rest of the ingredients while losing their pungency.
I was thrilled at how easy it was to turn lunch into a “new” dinner simply by adding shredded chicken and biscuits.  The kids and Nathan are already asking for me to make this one again.  And several of them had second helpings.  I’ll be sharing several additional recipes from Wartime Meals in the next few weeks here on the Farm Kitchen blog.  If it’s inspiring I hope you will follow along.  

​Have your own recipes?  Please share them in the comment section!